Employee Ownership Needs Worker Owners
Ownership is the new black, orange, blue and green – socially cool in “new economy” advocacy circles with an economic justice edge, growing in corporate and cooperative numbers, and claiming superior sustainable practices. Divided into land, home, individual, and workforce “communities of practice,” ownership appeals to historically admired American values. Cooperatives (member-based, worker and union affiliated) and companies with varying degrees of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), individual proprietorships and partnerships connect ownership with cultural ideals of freedom, innovation, self-reliance, civic commitment, democratic decision-making, wealth-building through risk-taking, and equality-grounded opportunity and mobility. Incentivizing workers as owners in “doing well by doing good” projects and companies reflects core principles and practices as ineluctable components of the historical American Dream’s original civic promise.